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WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

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Birdy
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby Birdy » June 20th, 2010, 10:26 pm

Fernando,
I had forgotten about this one, and think I'll dig it out. You can never go wrong with Joan.
B

feaito

Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby feaito » June 20th, 2010, 10:41 pm

Birdy wrote: You can never go wrong with Joan.B


I wholeheartedly agree!

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby charliechaplinfan » June 21st, 2010, 2:03 pm

I watched a couple of silents with Synnove. The General and the short The Playhouse and Queen Kelly. What can one feel about Keaton's masterpiece apart from be amazed at the scale of the stunts and attention to detail. I never thought I'd watch a movie about a train with such rapt attention. I simply love this movie everytime I watch it. The Playhouse is a showoff movie, showing how many tricks he can pull off with his camera and lising himself as every character doing every job. Was he trying to answer his critics? On later films Keaton shared or gave away the credit. Queen Kelly, each time I watch it I'm more puzzled about what Von Stroheim was trying to achieve, why are there whips in the bedroom in one of the opening scenes? Gloria Swanson looks at her best in Queen Kelly and the romance between the Prince and the convent girl has streaks of sweetness in it. One can only wonder what it would contain if she'd allowed Von Stroheim to carry on.

Synnove also got treated to watching some Laurel and Hardy with my kids. My kids want to watch the same ones over and over again, the ones they chose were Brats, Twice Two and Big Business, they gave away all the gags before they happened but it didn't seem to matter, part of the fun with Laurel and Hardy is knowing what is going to happen.

I managed to catch Sunnyside Up with Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, a delightful film from a much loved duo. I've heard criticisms of Charles Farrell's voice but in this movie if anything it's Janet's voice that is a little high pitched. It doesn't matter, the subject is delightful and the soundtrack extremely catchy.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

feaito

Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby feaito » June 21st, 2010, 9:51 pm

I watched the highly anticipated -due to its Pre-Code aspects- "Madam Satan" (1930) and I enjoyed it quite a lot. The film is absolutely offbeat and Lillian Roth displays loads of energy as Reginald Denny's lover. He and Kay Johnson are fine as the estranged married couple and Roland Young is funny as their pal. The high point of the film is of course the Zeppelin Party. One of the most bizarre moments in American cinema history and a landmark Pre-Code sequence. The sets, the dances & choreographies and the costumes are something to behold! De Mille's last bedroom farce?

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Synnove
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby Synnove » June 24th, 2010, 5:11 pm

Madame Satan, I've heard of that one before. It sounds like fun!

charliechaplinfan wrote:I watched a couple of silents with Synnove. The General and the short The Playhouse and Queen Kelly. What can one feel about Keaton's masterpiece apart from be amazed at the scale of the stunts and attention to detail. I never thought I'd watch a movie about a train with such rapt attention. I simply love this movie everytime I watch it. The Playhouse is a showoff movie, showing how many tricks he can pull off with his camera and lising himself as every character doing every job. Was he trying to answer his critics? On later films Keaton shared or gave away the credit. Queen Kelly, each time I watch it I'm more puzzled about what Von Stroheim was trying to achieve, why are there whips in the bedroom in one of the opening scenes? Gloria Swanson looks at her best in Queen Kelly and the romance between the Prince and the convent girl has streaks of sweetness in it. One can only wonder what it would contain if she'd allowed Von Stroheim to carry on.

Synnove also got treated to watching some Laurel and Hardy with my kids. My kids want to watch the same ones over and over again, the ones they chose were Brats, Twice Two and Big Business, they gave away all the gags before they happened but it didn't seem to matter, part of the fun with Laurel and Hardy is knowing what is going to happen.

I managed to catch Sunnyside Up with Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, a delightful film from a much loved duo. I've heard criticisms of Charles Farrell's voice but in this movie if anything it's Janet's voice that is a little high pitched. It doesn't matter, the subject is delightful and the soundtrack extremely catchy.


And I watched these movies too of course, excepting Sunnyside. Previously, I had only seen The Cameraman, out of Buster Keaton's movies. I think The General is more of an adventure movie than a comedy - or it's a winning combination of the two. I don't laugh as much as I do at a good Chaplin, and have less of a sentimental bond to Keaton, but I would class them as equal in inventiveness. The General is a brilliant film, and Buster Keaton is... actually kind of adorable in an off-beat sort of way. The Playhouse was fun too. I can't remember what it was about, but it was pretty funny!

Queen Kelly... I agree with Charliechaplinfan that the last part was strange, it is hard to see where he would have gone with it and it just seemed a bit twisted and pervy to be honest. But. I bet it would have made money if it had been released, unless the audience had found it too much to take. The romance in the first half was quite good, a bit naughty, and fun to watch. Gloria Swanson looked gorgeous and played a very sympathetic character. She played it like a real girl with a teenage crush, even if she was obviously not a teenager. We also watched the tacked-on ending that Gloria Swanson tried to launch as a last attempt to save the movie. It made no sense whatsoever.

I've also re-watched Hamlet starring Asta Nielsen, thanks to Christine! The movie itself is flawed, but I think Asta's performance may be one of my favourite from the silent era. She has so much spark, and so much personality. I'm glad I had seen a screening of this film before, because the print Christine sent me came from French television and its titlecards were in French and German. Two languages I really wish to learn.

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Ann Harding
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby Ann Harding » June 25th, 2010, 2:56 am

Synnove wrote:I've also re-watched Hamlet starring Asta Nielsen, thanks to Christine! The movie itself is flawed, but I think Asta's performance may be one of my favourite from the silent era. She has so much spark, and so much personality. I'm glad I had seen a screening of this film before, because the print Christine sent me came from French television and its titlecards were in French and German. Two languages I really wish to learn.

Glad you enjoyed it, Hedvig! :) Asta Nielsen had a very interesting personality, that's for sure. I have always enjoyed the few films I have seen with her.

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phil noir
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby phil noir » June 25th, 2010, 3:32 pm

Synnove wrote:Queen Kelly... I agree with Charliechaplinfan that the last part was strange, it is hard to see where he would have gone with it...


If I remember from something I read somewhere, doesn't Von Stroheim's screenplay end with Gloria Swanson and Walter Byron trapped on an island in a swamp about to be eaten by crocodiles (in Africa, I presume)? Perhaps someone else can confirm. I know that the screenplay has been published, and you can buy it on Amazon, though it's not exactly cheap.

This week I revisited The Patsy with Marion Davies because I'm reading Fred Laurence Guiles' excellent biography of her at the moment. She is just wonderful in this film, and Marie Dressler is terrific in support - easy to see why she became a star again at this time. (When Lawrence Gray throws up the stick of celery and it ends up stuck in her cleavage! Hilarious) Marion's impressions of Mae Murray, Pola Negri and Lillian Gish are superb. Somehow I can't imagine any of those people being very amused.

Recently I've also watched The Red Lily with Ramon Novarro and Enid Bennett; and Flesh and the Devil. I preferred the first one, even though I suppose it's quite a minor work. Novarro and Bennett were both very good. There's a very daring scene near the start when as the young lovers they are driving a cart across a railway line. They are so dreamily besotted with one another that they don't notice the train hurtling past behind them just as they finish crossing. I say daring, because it was so reminiscent of a scene from a Keaton or Harold Lloyd film, and I can imagine an audience laughing when they weren't supposed to. And yet it's an effective visual suggestion of the arbitrariness of fate; how it misses them on that occasion, but won't in future.

Flesh and the Devil, I enjoyed when I saw it first years ago, but now it struck me as a slightly ludicrous misogynistic fantasy. The pastor even tells John Gilbert that when the devil cannot reach men in normal ways, he creates a beautiful woman and ensnares them that way. Greta Garbo is the beautiful woman here, the 'work of the devil', one of the 'silly temptress' roles she disliked playing - and it is a silly part, and apart from her sex appeal, she can't do much to make it human. The love story is just as much between Gilbert and Lars Hanson; in their two shots, they are positioned so closely together that it usually looks as though they are about to go into a clinch; and Gilbert never seems very interested in Hanson's doting sister. Clarence Brown's pictorial sense and intelligent movement of the camera saved it for me, along with the lavish art direction.

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby charliechaplinfan » June 26th, 2010, 4:21 pm

I love The Patsy, it's one of Marion's best films. I'm glad you're enjoying the Guiles book, it's a good read.

It's interesting what you say about Flesh and The Devil, I remember getting caught up in a showing a long time ago on Channel 4 then I saw it again a few years ago. It didn't lose it's magic for me the second time, for me it's the art direction but also the chemistry both between Garbo and Gilbert and Gilbert and Lars Hanson. I don't think Felicitas was the best role that Garbo ever played, not by a long way but it is very memorable.

The disc I have of Queen Kelly has Gloria's patchwork ending, it ends in the convent with Walter Byron visiting her her coffin which was a dissappointment really, I think she must have been fed up with the whole production. I read what Fay Wray said of him whilst filming The Wedding March, she couldn't have described him more differently than the popular image of him.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

MikeBSG
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby MikeBSG » June 27th, 2010, 2:31 pm

My children and I watched some Laurel and Hardy shorts in the past couple of days. "Two Tars," "You're Darn Tootin'" and "Battle of the Century."

I think my son liked "You're Darn Tootin'" the best.

This was the first time I'd seen all of "Two Tars" and "You're Darn Tootin'" I had previously seen the highlights as part of "The Golden Age of Comedy" years and years ago. Still, these were very very funny. (The scene in which everyone loses their pants in YDT has to be seen to be believed.) I don't really consider myself a big Laurel and Hardy fan. I like some of their films, and I really enjoy a couple of them, but I don't really feel a burning need to track down all of their films. Maybe their work in the talkies struck/strikes me as somewhat whiny? But these silent L & H films are terrific.


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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby charliechaplinfan » June 28th, 2010, 1:47 pm

Mike, You're Darn Tootin is one of my kids favorite L&H movies, I think watching L&H with kids really brings them to life.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

feaito

Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby feaito » June 28th, 2010, 7:24 pm

I saw Sidney Franklin's 1929 early talkie-musical "Devil-May-Care" (1929) in which Ramon Novarro plays a Bonapartist officer who falls in love with an Ancient-Régime aristocrat who loathes Bonaparte (played by Dorothy Jordan). The film takes place in the time in which Bonaparte was deported to Elba and Louis XVIII ascended to the throne and ends when he makes his triumphant return -for 100 days. Novarro and Jordan play well together in this costume film and he's especially fine. Some good musical numbers and action sequences. Very interesting. Marion Harris plays Jordan's cousin, a benevolent woman who's hopelessly in love with Novarro.

Anyone can fill me in about the name of the actress who plays Louise's (Marion Harris) maid and who is in love with Novarro? She's rather beautiful and is not listed anywhere.

feaito

Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby feaito » June 28th, 2010, 7:42 pm

Here's a MGM productions still from "Devil-May-Care" (1929) in which the mystery actress who plays the maid Suzanne is shown with Novarro (she's beautiful):


Image


Yet another gorgeous still with Dorothy Jordan, Marion Harris and Novarro:


Image

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pvitari
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby pvitari » June 28th, 2010, 9:26 pm

Ra-*moan*

*sigh*

Where can I find this movie?

feaito

Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby feaito » June 28th, 2010, 10:47 pm

Pvitari, all these films (In Gay Madrid, Call of the Flesh and Devil-May-Care ) I've been viewing belong to the TCM library and have been scheduled over the years.

The print I got of Devil-May-Care is far from perfect but I bet that TCM might be shceduling soon a pristine-looking transfer.

I got mine from a Collector of Musicals.

Wouldn't mind sharing and trading :D


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